Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

I realize that I should’ve made a post yesterday. However, unlike most New Years Eves in recent memory, I was blissfully working. It was helpful that I was in the mood to actually work. And it was a good thing since last week was essentially a week off for me. I’d say that half of last week was very hard. I spent the week as I usually do, not working (except for a few hours on my birthday which I didn’t mind this year). It’s different now, working as an independent contractor. Since I’m still new to the full-time world of independent contractor work I still struggle with getting comfortable with this new identity. I’ve been working since I was around 16 or 17. All I know is the traditional world of retail or other “regular” jobs. The biggest adjustments of course include not having paid time off or a set schedule and pay. I’m also still trying to gain my footing with the many changes that occurred in 2014. I decided to and sold my home in a month, I left the career field and job that I had for over a decade, my hubby and I moved in with my brother and his family and the real kicker, my grandmother passed away. It had been a very difficult 2014. I’ll say this much about myself and my moods, I tend to be almost in a constant state of depression. The onset of its severity was a result of the relationship I had with my first husband. Prior to that I really can’t remember being depressed as a child or much at all in my early teens.

I tend to be pretty introverted and I’m very much a hermit. I spend 99% of my time in my room and office and seldom venture out. Sure, I like to go to my favorite restaurant or to the movies every now and then, but I’m pretty content just being a home body. Case in point, who else would binge watch all 60+ 40-minute episodes of Arrow in 3 days?! As a whole I like my routine except of course, for those times when I absolutely hate it. I don’t consciously feel locked away from the world, but life does impact me a great deal more within the same confined space. My brother and others have suggested becoming more active and even taking walks. As with most “resolutions” I tried it once or twice and then went right back to what I was doing before. Nothing. I’d been so excited about my mini stepper and even that interest has waned. Disappointing considering the mini stepper is right beside my desk. The very same desk I’m siting at now. I’ve decided that since I am always listening to my 5,906-song music collection throughout the day that I’d exercise every time an up-tempo song plays. I’ve had limited success with it. What inevitably happens every time I dedicate myself to an exercise regime, I get really sick for a week and during that time I don’t workout. Then I am more likely to revert to my old habits. This also happened with our test of the Vi Shakes and even with Soylent. Although, in both cases it also had to do with our meager finances not making it possible to continue.

I know I talk a lot about being cash-strapped. Here’s the thing, I’m smart, but with my added body weight and the constant depression, I work in what seems like spurts. When I’m having a good day, I work for hours on end. And then, as if it was chemically induced, that productivity is immediately follow-up by days of anguish and disinterest. One of my clients, whom I consider my new boss, is a real fitness nut. To hear him talk about it it almost sounds as if it’s a big part of his identity, like a religion of sorts. He’s very helpful in coaxing me out of my sour moods but ultimately what has now become a part of my entire being, I fall back into the same old rut, incapable of the motivation and real desire to change. I’ve tried not to beat myself up too much about it this year. I’m going to be very candid in this post (not to say that I’m usually not). It is, after all, a new year.

There were moments last week where I thought of cashing out my retirement account and getting out of as much debt as I could. It’s good that at that time I was also staying off the computer and that I had other television shows to keep me a bit distracted. At the end of the day, my rational self returned and I realized just how stupid that would be. However, what I really struggled with was being angry at myself over not being better. Here I was, 33 years old and living with my husband in my brother’s house. And in true stereotypical form, our bedroom and office suite is partially situated over the garage. It reminds me of one of my ex-boyfriends whom, throughout most of his early and late 20s, lived with his parents because, well, I saw it as him lacking any real motivation in his life and being too comfortable to do anything about it. It’s sad to say that he was one of my great loves. I say “my” because based on his actions, the feeling ultimately wasn’t reciprocal.

I have flashbacks to the life I had. Homeowner at 24, two Masters degrees at 27, I felt that I was living a truly adult life with all the debt and accouterments that goes along with it. While working on my Masters I did something that I strongly suggest no one do. I was finding myself after my divorce and decided to pour my energy and anxiety into something more productive, school. Always the overachiever, I decided to pursue a double Masters. My Mama can attest to the number of times I was ready to walk away from it. I was doing it alone. And while my family was supportive and excited by the feat, I was always alone, depressed and feeling like I was always to behave and act in a certain manner. There were times of absolute insanity and bad decisions, the consequences of which I still live with. I took out massive amounts of student loans not because I really needed it, but because I felt that it made my now living on my own and just coming out of a divorce self a respite, that I somehow deserved a break. After all, I had no husband “taking care” of me and I needed to not have to think too much about financially struggling. After all, I was living in the regular delusion of student loan debt being “good” debt and that it was the American way of things which meant I should accept that I would be paying on student loans for the rest of my life. I lived that American way until I had amassed more student loan debt than any one person should ever have. It ballooned to more than the debt on my house. It was (and still is) over $100,000. But I still allow myself to live in a bit of a detached mental state when it comes to my feeling like it’s what’s going to cause my financial demise. Heck, I have consumer debt that I’m sure will do that on its own.

For much of 2014 I felt like life was punching me in my face. Before I knew it virtually everything that I had, job security, house and home, everything that outwardly (and some inwardly) defined me was gone. I paid little attention to the fact that I was now married to the person I know I was meant to be with and that we were going through it together. He supported my decisions and was there to calm me. I just kept seeing the things I’d lost, the things and securities I no longer had. I kept seeing the massive amounts of change that I was living with and wanting desperately to crawl outside of my skin. When I decided it was time to leave my job, in that very same day, January 8th I decided that I would also sell my house and move in with my brother. I still remember it now. It was after a disastrous Board meeting that culminated with my BFF and I defiantly turning in our resignations (imagine it being epic with Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger and then Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It playing in the background). I’d just a few weeks before had a hysterectomy and decided despite still being on medical leave, that as was always the case, I’d go in to the office to attend the Board meeting. They were quarterly so I felt it was important to be there. Prior to that I’d spent the past several months dealing with work-related stresses. No, there wasn’t any wrongdoing, things had just changed and became more stressful and was less and less of an interest to my being. I knew that depending on how the meeting went, it could determine whether or not that anxiety and stress would come to an end. I knew the options and prepared, as much as I could, mentally for it. So after making that decision and having my BFF hand in our double resignations I remember my husband and I driving home. While sitting at the light on North Jefferson and MLK in Milledgeville I made the decision that I’d sell my house and leave Milledgeville. My husband was squarely onboard. I had stayed in the area after my divorce in part because my ex-husband left town and also because I worked with someone who had become my BFF. No longer having a reason to stay I immediately decided to leave. After all, like most people I was living paycheck to paycheck and didn’t see the need to continue to be 45-minutes away from my parents, Mama, my brother and his family and in a job market that left a lot to be desired.

I knew that my house was pristine. Even after buying it brand new 8 years prior, it showed extremely well and was devoid of any issues. It was in such great condition that the first people who viewed the property for purchase bought it. I used the same realtor who sold me the house and in a bit of a comedic twist, the people purchasing the house’s agent was the selling agent on my house when I originally purchased it. We moved in with my brother on January 29, 2014. Within months I’d added my husband’s last name to my own (you can read about that dilemma here and here) and was starting to live a new normal. I quickly had a job and then a day later I didn’t have a job. I briefly worked for a Dollar General and then decided that I wanted to work from home full-time. We bought two new cars (originally I intended only to buy one and to save on our monthly payments — yeh, that was the original plan). My stepdaughters spent a portion of their summer with us. And well, life kept going along, albeit not always merrily. For the vast majority of the year I was emotionally and professionally beaten down. Then my grandmother passed away which seemed like icing on an already terribly LaToya-made cake. I sensed her passing was coming and wrote about it. And when it happened it felt like yet another jab in my very difficult year. Then too I wrote. I always come back to writing.

There were some highlights in 2014. Notably, being with family, living with my nephew and niece, finding some long-term clients who are a real pleasure to work with, being a full-time sole proprietor (that goes on the good and bad list) and simply being with my husband. As Simon Cowell famously says, “If I’m being honest,” I spent the year being angry under the surface. It sometimes bubbled up but I stayed in a constant state of depression which was fueled by my feelings of having left all that I knew to start over. I’d worked for the library for over a decade and a great part of my intellectual property was still there being used (I had sense enough to maintain copies of what I created). I also felt I’d built up equity while I was there. After 12 years I felt like life should be getting easier and not harder. However, I’d made the decision to leave. I consciously left my predictable and “safe” job with excellent medical and retirement benefits to start over. I still don’t regret it. It’s just living with the decision that’s hard.

I hate being in debt up to our eyeballs and essentially living on the charity of my brother (and parents). Don’t get me wrong, I love my brother. I actually enjoy living with him and the kids. But when I look at my two expensive degrees on the wall, think of the capacity to learn and do that I have, the skills that I possess, I feel like a total and absolute failure. As they say, I don’t have a pot to piss in. I’ve been “planning on” writing a book for years and just two weeks ago purchased a bundle on Liberio as another step in the direction of doing so. But then I find I don’t have the energy or get dissuaded in writing something that would likely be mostly autobiographical with only a small bit of fiction. I think, do I use real names? I already do on my website but should I use a pseudonym (I already have one in mind) and change the names of those I write about? Who would even buy it? Am I good enough to write a book, a real book with an actual ISBN?! My BFF (who has a new omnibus available on Amazon) has for years told me to get over the feeling of inadequacy. After all, I’ve been published before and for the past three and a half years I’ve been writing for a newspaper. However, I know that although he’s a prolific author, there’s no money in it. Right now I still have to be very mindful of that. I need money. I even briefly entertained doing GoFundMe but thought about how ridiculous it would be to ask total strangers to help pay for the misguided and stupid decisions that I’d made in my own life.

I should actually be working right now but needed to write, wanted to write instead. And with my word count exceeding 2,300 on this post alone, I do wonder why I’m so “in my feelings” about writing a book. So, enough about the past and even about the work that I’m putting off doing today. I did want to mention my goals and outlook for 2015. I realize saying I have resolutions is a bit, well, I’d rather say that I have 2015 goals. I’ve made a written list every year for at least the past 5 years but have never accomplished anything on them. Well, I did accomplish reading more. I’m proud of that. This year I’m moving to an Asana-based online task list. I started outlining some of my work project goals yesterday but today will be doing my personal list. I plan to only have between 5 and 10 and making them very realistic and actionable. I still get a sense of excitement when I can cross things off the list (sure, it’s done digitally but it’s the same feeling). If I my list gets too long then it becomes convoluted and I lose sight of what it’s like to even accomplish something small. I need even the small victories and don’t want to miss out on appreciating those. Thus, I resolve to be more accepting of myself and my life decisions and to not beat myself up over it. Sure, sprinkle in the perennial exercising more and eating better to the list. As my hubby and I rang in the new year today, and after I’d started bawling for my grandmother at the stroke of midnight, we decided that this year we’d finally take getting ourselves out of debt more seriously. After all, that has been my adult life’s biggest stress. One day at a time. That’s all I can do and I am going to learn to be okay with that.

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